Me Made May · Uncategorized

Me Made May.

I know it is May 2nd.  I am a day late but better late than never!  So- those of you who don’t obsessively read sewing blogs may not know that Me Made May is a thing- a really big thing.  MMM or #Memademay or Me-Made-May or whatever you want to call it is an online event where the challenge is to wear something me-made or refashioned EVERY SINGLE DAY in May.  Awkward selfies posed in full length mirrors at work or in bathrooms are frequently posted…so here we go.

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A quote from it’s founder Zoe Edwards taken from Seamwork*:

“What makes MMM compelling is the way it challenges sewists not only to make garments, but also to actually wear them in our real lives—and so to consider how our handmade wardrobes relate to consumption, self-image, and how we present ourselves to the world.”

This is the first year I feel up to the task and will attempt to use this month as a way to encourage myself to sew more, to take pictures of what I sew and maybe even post more on this blog as a result.  I may not take a selfie of what I am wearing every day and post it to Instagram like I am supposed to but maybe I will most days- we’ll see.  So, although I did not take a picture of it yesterday I was wearing a refashioned dress I shortened into a tunic and so technically I am cooperating with this challenge already- but lets count today as the official start!

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I am trying to branch out of my pattern designer comfort zone (Seamwork, Colette, etc) and try other independent designers and lately I have been hooked on Patterns for Pirates.  I bought this pattern last week and couldn’t wait to make it when I got my latest shipment of fabric in from LA Finch Fabrics.   The pattern is a variation on their Sweetheart dress which makes this a very versatile pattern that includes a sweetheart neckline, color blocking options, lace overlay all in a peplum, mini  length and the knee length dress version.  I never thought I would wear a Peplum Top and quite honestly I feel pretty silly and self conscious in it for whatever reason but I am in love with it at the same time.

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Being “curvy” and carrying much of my weight in my stomach I wouldn’t think this style with its nipped in waist and hip accentuating flounce would work but because the waist hits at the narrowest part of the body and is fitted on top and nice and loose around the bottom it is surprisingly flattering.  Or at least I am hoping it is and trying to convince myself of this!  This Spring Floral Coral Liverpool knit I used certainly attracts attention and isn’t helping me blend into a corner today at work- maybe that is a good thing and this whole Me-Made-May thing knows what it is doing- inspiring confidence in its participants and showing the viewers that rocking handmade can work on a daily basis.  Maybe.  Either way- Day 1 of the challenge is done!

 

*what a Librarian thing to do- insert a quote and a link.  No citation page here though- have to draw the line.

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Getting back to active

I’ve been in a slump.  A FUNK with a capital F.  Depressed, bummed, cranky, bitchy or whatever you like to call it.  For a few months.  I have several reasons why that I feel can explain it away but for the sake of keeping this blog (mostly) sewing related I will not get into it!  No matter the reasons I know what I have been missing out on and what I need to get myself back into doing…one of them besides sewing is getting back to running!

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I ran my first half marathon just six months ago and then winter came, and the reasons for my hibernation came into play and BAM- I fell of the bandwagon.  Hard.  I would run maybe twice a week, then once a week…then maybe once every two weeks.  You get the idea.  Weeks would go by and I couldn’t drag myself out there because when I did it was so much harder and not as enjoyable as it was when I was regularly running.  It wasn’t fun.  Long story short- I know the only way to get myself out of this self imposed hibernation is to be like Nike and  JUST DO IT! I went out for a great 3 mile run this morning and felt wonderful!  There was a chill in the air but the sky was clear, the flowers were in bloom and it was perfect.  I came home and grabbed an iced coffee and (after a much needed shower!) headed outside for my daughter to take a few pics* of me in my new favorite pattern- Pattern for Pirates Peg Legs.

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This is now a free pattern and I am so happy I gave it a try.  I made the straight XL size with the high waist and capri length.  The fabric is a double brushed poly (just like Lularoe) I snagged for just under $8 at LaFinch Fabrics.  They feel like butter…so soft!  I have made a few orders from this shop and am in LOVE.  Fast shipping and a wonderful selection of double brushed poly, liverpool knits and more.  These knits are a new world to me and I have sewn up several great pieces with them that I hope to blog about soon!

The fabric print I used for these reminds me of running tights so they are pretty casual- but perfect for a lazy Saturday!  I know I will be making up so many more pairs of these once I buy more fabric…no more $25 Lularoe leggings for me.  I love the capri length and they are a super quick sew.  Besides the version I made this pattern includes 2 rises: low/mid rise and high rise and 4 lengths: shorties, bike, capri and ankle in sizes from XXS up to 3XL.  They even have add ons for a gusset, waistband or side pockets and more.  I can’t wait to sew up a pair of shorts in performance fabric with a side pocket, gusset and waistband pocket- they’ll be perfect for running!

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*a childs height does not equal the best pics!  I really need to up my game with my blog posts/pictures.  Hopefully future posts will feature more flattering pics and background!  She did manage this beautiful shot of the tree though…

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Olympia Dress for Easter

There’s something about Spring that inspires me to sew, sew, sew.  Maybe it is the warmer weather and the ability to go outside without bundling up under a puffy winter jacket?  Or it could be that I just have more time and the days are longer and brighter and I have more energy?  Either way I have been sewing up a storm these past few weeks and although I have sewn several items of clothing/bags etc since my last blog post I haven’t been interested in blogging or sharing them- until now!

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Coming out of winter hibernation I have a few blog posts ready to go and here is the first one- the Olympia Dress by Love Notions Patterns.  I came across Love Notions when I first sewed their Laundry Day Tee – which I am totally in love with and will post about soon!  This Olympia Dress is my second pattern by this company and the first I have paid for- and I am so happy with how this dress turned out.  This is my second version- the first version I used an inexpensive lycra jersey that I am just not in love with.  This version is using a pretty substantial scuba knit from Joann’s that I have been holding onto for months and didn’t have the occasion to use until now- I think it is just perfect for Spring and for Easter.

 

This dress is super simple to sew and even though I was nervous about the integrated reverse shawl collar I think it turned out Ok and was pretty easy to figure out using the directions and the video posted on the Love Notions site.  The pattern has a great size range and even individual cup sizing which is wonderful.  I sewed this up using the XL size and the D-cup bodice.  I made the sleeveless, knee length version but the pattern actually includes five sleeve lengths: sleeveless, short, elbow, 3/4 and long as well as two skirt lengths: knee and maxi.

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I am in love with this pattern for its flattering shape, simple construction and versatility.  I feel like the non-gathered waist works better for me than the Colette Moneta that I had previously been obsessed with- it fits well and is super quick to sew.  The stability of the scuba knit makes things so simple- no slipping or stretching issues so I was able to sew this in about 1 1/2 hours.  No zippers, closures or elastic required means it comes together very fast.  Instant gratification!

I’ll leave you with a shot of the tree outside of my house- it is what I see from the view of my sewing room window- no wonder I am inspired- just beautiful!

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Vintage Simplicity Pattern 6079

I don’t know what it is about vintage patterns- I just can’t get enough of them.  My sewing room is full of children’s sewing patterns from the 60’s and 70’s…love them.  Up until now I have only collected girls patterns, but recently acquired a handful of women’s patterns in my size from the same era at the thrift store and I am smitten.  I am taking a new approach to sewing and trying new things.  I want to spend more time sewing for myself and trying out styles I wouldn’t normally wear.  Up until recently I ONLY sewed for the girls, with the occasional bag or home item for myself.  Now that the girls are growing up and have more opinions about what they wear I am not having as much fun sewing for them as I used to!  It is pretty frustrating to choose a fabric/pattern and spend time sewing a garment that sits in the closet unworn.  I can’t do that to myself anymore!  Solution: become a selfish sewer.

Although I find much of the sewing of vintage patterns to be overly laborious with all of the zippers, darts, facings etc…I have to admit that the finished garment is pretty great and worth all of the work.  Case in point- Simplicity 6079.

IMG_20140504_155547I never knew what half sized patterns meant- and probably better off that I didn’t know that they were for women about 6 inches shorter than me or I would have never tried this pattern!  It really worked out in the end and I am happy with the results (not the pictures of myself, but the dress!)  Maybe the pictures would be more flattering if they weren’t take from the angle looking up- but that is what you get when you have a small child as your photographer!

I bought this fabric on sale at Hobby Lobby, it is just an inexpensive quilting cotton but I loved the price and the print and thought it would be great to wear on our vacation this summer to the Dominican Republic- nice and bright for summer. I chose to use View 3- the one shown in blue floral on the cover, sleeveless dress with a deep v slit neck and slightly flared skirt.  IMG_20140504_163310

Since the print is so bold it is hard to see the great lines of this dress- but in addition to the center seams there are bust darts, side darts and back darts…lots of darts.  This along with neck and front facings and a 22 inch zipper- wow.  I chose to leave out the armhole facings…I was ready to be done by the time I got to those.  I simply folded over the edge around the armhole and folded it under again to sew it up.  No facing required and so much faster.  All in all this dress took me about 2 or 3 hours to sew up, including cutting the pattern and fabric.  Well worth the time since it fits perfectly and will work well into fall when paired with a cardigan and leggings.  Aka my uniform!

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Kids Clothes Week…for real this time!

Ok, I am so out of it lately.  Oops.  Kids Clothes week wasn’t last week- it is this week.  I only realized this after I felt guilty for only sewing up one item last week and then I saw online that it didn’t even start until April 7th.  Yay!  So, I am not so far behind- actually ahead of the game!  woo hoo.

I have sewn up a bunch of stuff this week, it has been very productive.  I haven’t put any pressure on myself to do so, which has made a world of difference.  You will see that all of my pictures are on a mannequin or have my faces cropped.  This is not because the girls were uncooperative (as usual!), but because of privacy concerns.

I will say though that there have been events locally lately that have made me rethink this blog.  Issues and fears of a man trying to lure children into his car in my neighborhood.   My daughters fears of this “man” have kept her up at night and made us all alert and worried.  All of this attention and discussion has had me think about privacy and protecting my girls from such predators.  I have decided to stop publishing pictures of them on this blog.  I know that there is no direct correlation between what happens on this blog, and what happens in my neighborhood.  I have thought about this for a while…started to when random bloggers (not sewers) started following my posts.  I questioned their motives, was it just for them to get more exposure or something more ominous?  Either way it makes me queasy thinking about it.  Although I love reading other sewing blogs and seeing the posts of the kids and their clothes, and reading into the families lives- I am not comfortable putting mine out there as well.  Call me crazy, but for now I am going to retreat back into our little life and not put my girls out there for the world.

So, we will see how much longer I continue this blog given these new feelings, but for now let me brag about what I accomplished this week!

First, a tried and true pattern- Kitschy coo’s Skater dress.  I cut the long sleeve version shorter at the elbow, and did a mock hem with my serger for the arm hem.  Love how this turned out.  You can read about the technique here.  The fabric is a great knit I picked up at Joann’s recently.

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Next is the same pattern, but this time I used Kitschy coo’s tute for a peplum top.  LOVE  IT!  I think I will be making several of these.  So sweet, and paired with this great print from Girl Charlee  it is beautiful.   I did the same sleeve version as above, and even hemmed the neckline in the same way.  Best part- took me less than an hour to make, including cutting out and adapting the peplum pattern.  Sweet.DSCN4525

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Kids Clothes Week, Spring Challenge

Ok.  I am going to be real right now.  Why do I do this to myself?  I don’t have time to sew- let alone pose my kids in the outfits I sew and force them to take pictures.  All while I am screaming at them to stop moving as the light is fading and the sun is setting, and why oh why is everything coming out blurry?  Stop moving!  Why do I do this to myself, just to spend hours of my precious evening alone time sewing clothes they probably won’t even wear?  Why do I torture myself like this?  BECAUSE I LOVE IT.

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Even though this is a recipe for torture and can be incredibly frustrating something keeps pulling me back in.  Each and every time I say I am going to end this blog, to sew more for myself and less for the girls I can’t stop myself!  So, here I am again joining in on the Kids Clothes Week challenge yet again.  I will not put the pressure on myself to sew every day if I don’t have time.  I will not post every day or visit the site.  I will do what I can and that will be enough.  It seems like these challenges are all that have been motivating me to blog lately.  Oh well, maybe once I am off this summer I will get more inspiration and time to blog again.

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Ok, so the first (and hopefully not last!) thing I made are these lightweight denim twirly skirts with stripes of fun ric rac and trim on the edges.  Love them.  I was able to squeak out one for each of the girls with only one yard of fabric, and the various trims I used were in my stash of vintage lace, bias trim and ric rac I have accumulated over the years.  I love how they turned out and they will be perfect for the upcoming warm weather…hopefully it is here to stay!  As you can see in the blurry pics the girls loved to dance in them!

 

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